Monthly Archives: January 2016

DeKalb Schools 2016-2018 Calendars

Stan Nancy Jester

DeKalb Schools 2016-2018 Calendars

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I was informed that The Calendar Committee “was comprised of a variety of stakeholder groups, including students, parents, community/business partners, school-level staff, and district level advisers.” The Calendar Committee discussed the number of days per year, number of days per semester, inclement weather/emergency days, testing windows, spring breaks, holidays, school breaks, and other metro area school districts’ calendars.
Tomorrow, the board will discuss and approve the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school calendars.  The Calendar Committee released the proposed 2016-17 calendar this evening and answered some questions posed by readers of this blog.
2017-2018  Calendar
2016-2017  Calendar
2015-2016  Calendar
.pdf link icon  2016-2017  Calendar
.pdf link icon  2017-2018  Calendar
02/01/2016 – DeKalb Schools 2016-2017 Calendar Update
Question:  How did we come to this start date?
Calendar Committee:  There were 8,050 responses to the online survey.  48% was community and stakeholders.  A majority of the community prefers a later start date.
Question:  How did we address religious holidays conflicting with the testing schedule?
Calendar Committee:  Except for PSAT, there will be no testing in September or October.
Question:  Why don’t the students have school on Nov 8, election day?
Calendar Committee:  The community feedback was that parents want their children to be off from school on election day. 
Please comment here with any thoughts or questions.
click to enlarge

Calendar Attributes 2016-2017 2017-2018
Pre-planning Aug 1 – 5, 2016 July 31 – Aug 4, 2017
First day of school Aug 8, 2016 Aug 7, 2017
Labor Day Sept 5, 2016 Sept 4, 2017
Fall Break (Including Columbus Day) Oct 6 – 10, 2016 Oct 5 – 9, 2017
Election Day/Teacher’s Workday Nov 8, 2016 Nov 7, 2017
Thanksgiving Break Nov 21 – 25, 2016 Nov 20 – 24, 2017
Last day of 1st semester Dec 21, 2016 Dec 20, 2017
Winter Break Dec 22, 2016 – Jan 3, 2017 Dec 21, 2017 – Jan 2, 2018
Post planning 1st semester/ Pre-planning 2nd semester Jan 4, 2017 Jan 3, 2018
First day of 2nd semester Jan 5, 2017 Jan 4, 2018
Martin L. King Day Jan 16, 2017 Jan 15, 2018
Feb Break (Including President’s Day) Feb 17 – 20, 2017 Feb 16 – 19, 2018
Inclement Weather Day Feb 17, 2017 Feb 16, 2018
Professional Learning Day March 10, 2017 March 9, 2018
Spring Break April 3 – 7, 2017 April 2 – 6, 2018
Lemonade Days Carnival April 19 – 23, 2017
Last day of school May 25, 2017 May 24, 2018
Post planning May 26, 2017 May 25, 2018
Number of days 1st semester 88 88
Number of days 2nd semester 92 92
Total number of school days 180 180

60 Minutes Of Recess A Day

The American Academy of Pediatrics and numerous other professional and pediatric groups have been advocating for more recess and unstructured playtime saying, “Recess is a necessary break in the day for optimizing a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.”

Dr. Sarah Lazarus is a pediatrician and started a Facebook group Parents for Play where she encourages parents to come together to discuss and advocate for extending recess for elementary students in DeKalb and Georgia.
Dr. Lazarus was recently featured in the AJC saying,

“The AAP explains that children who get regular recess are healthier, better able to focus, and develop the social and emotional skills necessary to be engaged learners. Research also shows that children learn better following a break for physical activity. During recess, children develop social and problem-solving skills that cannot be taught in the classroom, and these result in increased academic success. When children are given ample opportunities to move and play, their ability to focus improves greatly.
Children from Finland have some of the highest scores on international standardized tests, much higher that the children in the United States. There, they provide 15 minutes of recess for every hour children are in the classroom. Recently, at an elementary school in Texas, based on the Finnish curriculum, recess was increased to 60 minutes a day with four 15-minute breaks for children to go outside and play.”

DeKalb County School District

Stacy Stepney is the Director of Elective and Special Instruction. She tells us about recess at DeKalb Schools.
Question: How much recess/unstructured playtime is allotted to elementary students every day?
Stacy Stepney: Schools must schedule a minimum of 15 minutes of supervised, unstructured break time each day to promote physical, social, and academic development. The unstructured break time involves children’s choice of activities whether indoors or outdoors. It is recommended that the unstructured breaks occur between periods of relatively rigorous academic time. The District does not support withholding these breaks for disciplinary or academic reasons.
Question: Are there state laws or board policy governing recess/unstructured playtime?
Stacy Stepney: According to Board policy IEDA-Unstructured Break Time, the District supports supervised, unstructured break times for students in kindergarten through grade five. Currently, the Board policy stipulates that the school day cannot be extended to provide the supervised, unstructured breaks.
The State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.02 mandates the following based upon a 180-day school year:  Kindergarten through third grade students shall not have less than a daily average of 4.5 hours (270 minutes) of instruction time.  Fourth and fifth grade students shall not have less than a daily average of 5 hours (300 minutes) of instruction time.
Question: Who at the school level or district level can make the decision to increase unstructured playtime?
Stacy Stepney: Dr. Green would direct staff to collaborate with stakeholders (district, school, parents, community partners, and students) to review and revise Board policy IEDA-Unstructured Break Time. If there are recommended changes, the committee will present the information to Dr. Green for consideration before submitting a proposed policy change to the Board of Education for review and approval.
Question: What can parents do at the school level or county level to extend unstructured playtime for elementary students?
Stacy Stepney: [ repeated answer from last question] Dr. Green would direct staff to collaborate with stakeholders (district, school, parents, community partners, and students) to review and revise Board policy IEDA-Unstructured Break Time. If there are recommended changes, the committee will present the information to Dr. Green for consideration before submitting a proposed policy change to the Board of Education for review and approval.